Peter and Donna Shaft

First post: Jan 22, 2019 Latest post: Mar 31, 2019
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Peter and Donna came to Kansas City to attend a wedding. On January 18 while crossing a street returning from dinner to their hotel, they were both struck by a car. A labor and delivery nurse stopped and stayed with Peter at the site of the crash. Thanks to her. Emergency Medical Services and police responded to the scene. Donna and Peter were promptly taken to St. Luke's Hospital, a trauma center in Kansas City.  Each of them has numerous injuries. Their children, Colby Shaft and Lauren Zobel, are grateful for the care they are receiving. Please keep Colby and Lauren in your thoughts along with Donna and Peter.  They will all need your love and support.

Peter's injuries: Peter was particularly at risk from injury because of the medication he takes for his heart valve to slow his blood clotting. This makes him more likely to bleed from any injury. He has a broken right humerus (upper arm), injuries to his spine in his neck and lower back, breaks in his pelvic bones, lots of bruising and swelling, and lacerations. The spine injuries have not damaged his spinal cord or caused any nerve damage. He will not need surgery for the spine injuries. He will not need surgery for the pelvic fractures but they cause pain and will make sitting, walking, changing positions difficult. He has a particularly severe skin injury to the back of his right thigh.
Peter's care so far (evening of January 20th): He has had blood transfusions, medication to alter his blood clotting ability to balance the need for his blood to clot after injury but not clot too much and cause problems with his heart valve, closure of his lacerations and skin wounds. He needed to go to the operating room the first night to care for the skin wound on the back of his right thigh to clean the area and put the skin back into place. On the 20th he had a rod put down his right humerus in order to stabilize this fracture. He has gotten multiple medications to help his pain but it has been difficult to control. We are hoping that having the right humerus stabilized will help. He also needs to wear a cervical collar which holds his neck in the proper position due to the spine injuries there. The current plan is for him to return to the operating room tomorrow to clean out the right thigh skin wound again. On the very good side, Peter has been awake, talking and understanding the situation. The information he has been able to give has helped both his and Donna's care. He has smiled for his children, been able to tell stories, and asks how other people are - just an extraordinary man!

Donna's injuries and care: Donna has has some bleeding in the space between the brain and the skull, the subarachnoid space. This is associated with a brain injury but she has not needed brain surgery. Due to a fluctuating level of awareness on the night of injury, she was intubated (tube through her mouth and into her windpipe) and put on a ventilator to assure her ability to breathe well. She never stopped breathing; this was a preventive, safety step. The bone underneath her right eye has broken and she will need surgery to repair this in a week or two. She has lacerations of the right eyelid and beside her eye but not in her eyeball itself. She has a lot of bruising on her forehead and face. She has five broken ribs on the right and one on the left. She has bruising of her lungs (pulmonary contusions). She has fractures of her pelvis. These will not need surgery but cause pain and will make sitting, standing, and walking difficult. She has a fracture of her right tibia and fibula (lower leg bones). She has lots of bruising all over her body.
Donna's care so far: The intubation and ventilator have assured her ability to breathe consistently. Since this has been started, this part of her care has been relatively stable. She has had blood transfusions. The first night she needed medication to support her blood pressure. As she became a little stronger the next day, this medication was gradually decreased and then stopped. The ophthalmologists and plastic surgeons and oral maxillofacial surgeons are jointly caring for the injuries surrounding her right eye. They have closed the lacerations, revised that closure as swelling decreased, and she has eye drops and ointment to help protect her eyeball. She will need surgery to repair the fracture under her eye. We do not yet know how her vision will be. On January 19 she went to the operating room to have a rod placed to stabilize her right tibia fracture. They are starting to check each day to see how strong she can breathe on her own (CPAP trial) to tell when her endotracheal tube (breathing tube) can be safely removed. She has been getting a continuous infusion of pain medication and a continuous infusion of sedation medication to keep her comfortable. When these are at higher strength, she remains very sleepy and cannot communicate. On the positive side, when these medications are decreased she has been able to move her arms and legs, squeeze fingers and wiggle her toes when asked, and nod answers to simple questions. 

As days go by, it will be step by step to see what Donna needs and what Peter needs. As the initial major injuries are cared for, sometimes more subtle injuries are found or new problems come up such as more bleeding or infection. So far each one of them has had each little step going in a positive direction.

Donna, Peter, Colby, and Lauren all live in Chicago in good times. For now Lauren and Colby have decided that Peter and Donna will remain in the hospital in Kansas City.  Lauren and Colby came to Kansas City immediately after the bad snowstorm moved through to be with their parents for a few days. Both are so sad to see their parents have to go through this but both are calm, strong, and loving at their bedsides. In the coming weeks they intend to go back and forth between Chicago and Kansas City to be with them.

How can you help this wonderful, dear family?  They will need help for the long haul. Chicago people - organize yourselves! Food trains for Colby and Maggie and for Lauren's family? Rides for Lauren's children to their kid events? A little extra kindness for Bobby, Kate, and Emma from their friends? Care for Peter and Donna's home and yard? Professional assistance for Peter's clients? What else can you think of to help? Please check here for updates and news and let Colby and Lauren concentrate on all the extra things they will need to do. Continue to send your love and thoughts and care to all four of these lovely people. Thank you for joining us here.